August 20, 2015

What I will do differently next time..

Some of you may know that last year I pulled my 7 year old son out of 2nd grade to homeschool him. You can ready why HERE.
My main priority each day was to create a happy, safe environment for him to learn. My biggest goal was teaching him how to read. It was hard work. I cried lots of times. But we laughed together a LOT.
On June 5th, his last official day of 2nd grade, I felt like a failure. I felt like I hadn't done enough for him and was very discouraged. I realize now that it was just negative thoughts and not reality, but at that time, it felt real. He was still really struggling with decoding words and any word with more than one syllable was extremely difficult for him to try to sound out. All I could think of was that we will have some hard days ahead of us as we enroll him in school and when next year begins I'll ask for testing for dyslexia. I was overcome by the stress and weight of it all.
We took a couple of weeks off when school ended for the summer and just rested, took vacations and enjoyed some time off. Then he started a summer reading course through a local college. He worked hard on his workbook and reading books and I found a fun adventure series that we would read together every night. Our deal was I would read a chapter from that book and he would read 3 pages from his book. This plan highly motivated him and really helped him enjoy the process. It seemed like it occurred overnight, but he was beginning to read with fluency, exaggeration and with very little errors. I was beginning to see the fruits of our labors. The pressure of school was gone and all we were doing was reading together! One morning, he woke me up and said, "mom, can we read?" That's the first time he had ever asked to read together. I was overjoyed and said, "of course!"

This year he is going back to public school and I have ALL my fingers (and toes) crossed that he will have a happy experience. I'm praying for a teacher that can think outside of the box and truly loves helping kids.
That being said, as I think about our past homeschooling experience, I know that we may come back to homeschooling again in the future, here are 3 things I will do differently the next time around:
1. Read more, worksheet less.
I love being able to check items off my list, and to have worksheets filled out and turned into his learning counselor. It felt good to have tangible evidence of the learning that occurred. And it helped me stay on task. BUT I saw more progress in him when we were able to just sit and read together than when I was forcing him to fill in boxes or do word sorts or match a word to a definition. Next time I'll be searching for a literature program where we read a book and then he writes down what he learned. Still searching for the perfect program, but I'm sure it's out there. We also did some journaling and next time I'll be better about doing a daily entry and being consistent with that.
2. Hands on is always better.
My strategy at the time was, finish the worksheets and you'll get a fun project. BUT some days it literally took 3 hours to motivate him to finish said boring worksheet, so he missed out on a lot of projects and experiments that would've been beneficial and fun. Not too sure how I would do this differently, though since he is the one that needed to learn this behavior and change. He is hard to motivate when it's not his idea. Once again, next time I'll be better about consistently doing hands on projects, and probably having a discussion each morning about what is expected that day would do wonders. At the end of the year, we did a Rainforest Unit Study which was awesome and had some fun projects to go with. I'll do more unit studies next time too!
3. Outdoors is best.
I'll definitely miss all our lunch picnics, P.E bike rides, gardening days and workouts together. He was my little buddy and although I'm looking forward to having some free time to catch up on the neglected housework and business tasks, I for sure will look forward to 2:30 each day! Next time I'll make it a goal to go outside more often, maybe even read outside or take or science project to the backyard. These are the things that make homeschooling so beautiful and give our children a different experience than just sitting in a classroom all day long.
Do you have any tips for other homeschooling moms? Please comment with them and share any advice you might have!
Thanks for stopping by...

August 6, 2015

Tips to Stay Hydrated!

It's HOT out there!! With this summer heat, it's extra important to make sure you're staying hydrated all day. If you're already in my challenge group, you hear me say it all the time. That's because I can't say it enough... if you want to lose weight, you need to drink water. If you exercise, you need to drink more water. If you want healthy skin, you need to drink water! If you want to be alert, have organs that function properly, and allow your body to function at its best, you need to drink enough water.
In the spirit of this post, how about pouring yourself a glass of water right now as to sip as you read? Go ahead, I'll wait ;)
Here are some tips to make sure you are staying hydrated and keeping your body healthy:
1. Drink a full glass of water RIGHT when you wake up. You haven’t had any fluids for 8 hours, so this could be the most dehydrated you will be all day. Plus, it’s a great way to jump-start your metabolism. Try leaving a tall glass of water on your nightstand and drink it before you get out of bed.
2. Calculate & Keep Track: Knowing how much water your body needs is key! The easiest way to calculate this is to take your body weight and divide it by 2. This is how much you should be drinking in ounces each day. So if you weigh 160, you would drink 80 oz of water each day. You can then divide that by 16 or whatever size your water bottle is and know that you need to fill it up 5 times each day. Not so bad, right? Keep track with tally marks, or grab a large gallon container and draw lines to calculate how much you should be drinking throughout the day.
3. Bring your water bottle with you wherever you go! Think of it as your "necessary accessory". I love carrying around a cute water bottle; there are colors and styles for everyone. Splurge on one you really like, the bigger the better. Glass and stainless steel are the best choices, as they won’t leach chemicals into the liquid contents. Avoid plastic bottles whenever possible.
4. EAT your water- Most types of fruit are at least 80% water. Fruits like melons, cucumbers, berries, and celery. Avoid fruit juices though, as they usually have extra sugar. Drink veggie juice instead!
5. Set a reminder- I have a hydration app on my phone that makes a little water gushing sound every hour so I remember to drink another glass of water. Sometimes I get distracted, so it's always a nice reminder. It also helps me remember to take my toddler to go potty! :) And if YOU're drinking enough, you'll probably be ready for a potty break too!
6. Give yourself a little variety: Sometimes I get sick of the taste of water (or lack of taste) so I like to add a little zing with a wedge of lemon, some crushed mint leaves, sliced cucumbers, melon or berries. My kids go crazy for fruity water too! If you love the bubbles of soda, get some sparkling mineral water and add your fruit for an extra yummy glass of H20.
7. Drink before you eat. I used to love a juice or soda each time I sat down for a meal, but now I drink water instead. Drinking BEFORE you eat will help you feel more satisfied and you will eat less to help you lose weight and keep it off. When you feel a snack-attack coming on, drink a glass of water, then wait 15 minutes. Dehydration pangs are often misread by your body as hunger. A glass of water will replenish your body and help you feel satisfied. If you are still hungry 15 minutes later, reach for a piece of fruit or a handful of raw nuts. If they are lightly salted, they'll help you want to reach for more water too!
8. Drink a glass before bed: Remember that glass of water on your nightstand? Fill it up again before you catch some Z's to stay hydrated until morning. Or, try a soothing mug of hot water with lemon and a small drizzle of honey.

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July 12, 2015

Pioneer Day Singing Time!

Years ago I dug through all the July Friend magazines and compiled all my favorite images and mini stories of pioneers to use for Primary Singing Time. I used it year after year and the kids always love it! It's a great way to review the songs for the year and learn some new pioneers songs too!

I don't have a picture of it, but I put up my big map of the United States and pinned up these images from Missouri to Utah. You can print these images on white cardstock and even laminate them if you want to use them for many years. I have the facts (listed below) written on the back of my pictures, or you could just number them and print out my guide. Adjust the facts or the songs as needed! You can have them choose the pictures in order (following the same journey that the pioneers took, with your most important songs first) or let them pick whatever picture they like in any order.

"Does anyone know what we celebrate on July 24?? We celebrate the Pioneers! Today we have a super fun activity to learn about the pioneers and sing some songs that help us to remember and appreciate what they did for us. They took a long journey across many states so that they could enjoy freedom to worship the Lord!"
I'm looking for a reverent helper to come up and pick a picture... (I always say this and watch the kids hurry to fold their arms and sit up straight before I pick a name out of our stick jar)

From scan #1:
Pioneers with folded arms: 
The pioneers started out in Independence, Missouri. The pioneers walked all day and stopped only to eat and sleep. On Sundays they held church meetings to sing and pray. Just like the pioneers did, we can learn to be reverent. Let's sing Reverence is Love (CS #31)

Boy & girl with baskets:
The word pioneer means: one the goes before, showing others the way to follow. 
Sing Come Follow Me (HYMN #116)

Pioneer kids with song notes:
The pioneers walked 14-20 miles each day! They sang songs to help pass the time and to stay happy. 
Sing Pioneer Children (CS #214) 
We love to use hand motions for what they "did" and march when we sing "walked".

Large image of pioneers with handcarts:
It took a lot of courage to be a pioneer. It was a very difficult journey and many people died along the way. Let's learn a new song! Sing The Handcart Song (CS #220)
{I used this flipchart HERE}

From scan #2
Joseph Smith:
It all started with Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. Now we belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints! 
Sing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (CS #77)

Eternal Family in front of Temple:
Brigham Young chose the spot for the Salt Lake Temple just 4 days after they arrived. It took almost 40 years to build it! Sing I Love to See the Temple (CS #95)

Teams of oxen were used to pull heavy wagons. Oxen are very slow animals, but because they are stronger than horses, many pioneers used them to pull their heavy wagons. 
Sing The Holy Ghost very slowly. (CS #105)

Pioneer camp at night:
Along the trail and in the evening after the long day's walk, pioneers would often sing songs of Christ to keep their spirits up. Sing I Know That My Savior Loves Me.

Sometimes insects, like ants invaded the pioneer's camps. Pioneers had to stomp to get the ants of their bodies!! Stomp while singing Follow the Prophet (CS #110)

If a cow wandered away from the pioneer camps, sometimes the children your age had to search for them and bring them back to camp. Play HIDE THE COW! Golden Note Style (also called Hot & Cold game. One child goes out of the room. Another child hides the cow somewhere in the primary room. First child comes back. All children sing the song, softly if he/she is far away, loudly if he/she is close to the cow. The kids LOVE playing this and will gladly play as many times as you need them to, so pick a song they need to practice!) 


I hope this helps and is super fun for your primary kids!! If you have time, bare your testimony of Joseph Smith and your thankfulness of the pioneers who came before us, and sacrificed
so much so we could enjoy the freedoms and the restored gospel we have today.

June 23, 2015

5 sure-fire ways to stay happy & healthy!

1. Make a Plan!
Every Sunday night, after a day of rest, relaxation and peace, I get out my planner and schedule out my next week. I highlight my kids' tasks in different colors so it's easy to visualize. I decide what workouts I will do, what time I will do them each day, and what meals I will be eating. As I make my plan, I remind myself WHY I am doing these things. So I can be happier, healthier and more productive. I hate that struggle at 5pm when I haven't planned out dinner, so I just lay out the cereal and tell the kids to have at-it. (I'm not the only one who does this, right?) I remind myself that when I schedule my workouts, I must make them as non-negotiable as everything else on my schedule. I wouldn't cancel a work meeting or a lunch with friends. Why would I cancel a date I have with myself? I am that important! I must also add, that if you miss a workout, your week isn't ruined! Just jump back in the next day. *When you fail to plan, you plan to fail!*

Would you like 7 days of healthy recipes along with a clean eating shopping list? Leave your email in comments!

2. Exercise for the High! 

"Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands, they just don't!" Remember this line from Legally Blonde? Well, it's actually scientifically proven that physical activity has a direct chemical impact on your brain. When we work out, important hormones & chemicals like endorphins, norepinephrine and serotonin are released that help us to feel happy, make good choices and focus better. Antidepressants help to release these same chemicals that are boosted by exercise!

Set a goal to get at least 20 minutes of exercise in each day! If you are a member of a gym, do 10 minutes on a cardio machine and 10 minutes focusing on your abs 2-3 days a week. Make sure you are also incorporating weights 2-3 times a week as well! HERE's a great article about why women should lift weights! If you are not a member of a gym, or have gym-a-phobia like me, check out this awesome On Demand program that gives you access to tons of workout programs that you can do from home!! You've heard of p90x & insanity, right? What about Turbo Fire & ChaLEAN extreme? There truly is a workout for everyone, depending on your fitness level and what you enjoy doing! Studies show that your workout will be more effective if you are enjoying your workout. Love to dance? -there's a program for you! Enjoy circuit training? -there's a program for you. Need something fast & effective? -yup, there's a program like that, too! Don't just endure your workout, enjoy it!!  

If you would like to try a FREE 30 day Club Membership with On Demand access, you can sign up HERE!

3. Don't cheat, TREAT!

I used to sneak a cupcake in the middle of the night. True story. I considered it something that was "wrong" and of course it tasted so good until the last bite when I was left with a stomach ache and an overwhelming amount of guilt. This could've led me into a downward spiral of eating disorders & depression, but I recognized that what I was doing wasn't helping anything or anyone. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!!
Instead of dieting, use the law of moderation. I never want to tell myself that a certain food or food group is off limits. I once ate gluten free for a month and although I lost 10 lbs, I was tortured by nightmares of pizza, breadsticks, cookies, bagels, cake and pasta. I found out that I didn't have a gluten intolerance, but I did psych myself out and it wasn't a pleasant experience!
Instead of telling yourself you aren't allowed to eat Oreos, how about you get 3 of them with a glass of almond milk after the end of a productive week? I love the 80/20 rule. 80% healthy, 20% other.
And don't have the mind set that you are cheating, consider it a treat! But you have to earn it. Make sure you have a plan to be physically active & eat healthy 80% of the time (See #1 & 2)!

4. Do Something that makes you happy EVERYDAY!

This goes a long way if you are struggling to keep the gray clouds away. Figure out what your hobbies are, what needs you have, and make sure that you schedule time for yourself. Love getting pampered? schedule yourself a pedicure monthly. Need girl time to keep your head afloat? plan to go out to breakfast, brunch, lunch or a park day with your friends every week. A little adult conversation goes a long way when you are home taking care of little ones all day.

Positive Affirmations is another way to help yourself get through a hard time. I truly believe that the thoughts we are thinking and the words we are speaking all impact our state of mind. I love to say, "you is smart, you is beautiful, you is kind" just like from The Help! If I can speak positive thoughts to my kids, I can speak positive words to myself, too.
"I am an inspirational person. I am a great mom. I am a leader. I make good choices. I am creative. I am kind. I have a beautiful family."

Reading books that help with personal development and positive thinking is another great way to help change your mindset during hard times. I recommend doing this in the morning each day, before anyone else wakes up, so you can start out your day with something uplifting to help you feel positive and happy!

*I want to share an experience from a time that I was really struggling. I had just had my 2nd baby and everything went wrong with this labor & delivery. I ended up having an emergency c-section with him and was really having a hard time. I had a huge up & down scar that cut through ALL my abdominal muscles so my body was really hurting, plus my uterus tore during the surgery so I was given a blood transfusion because of the blood loss. Not only was I in a lot of pain, I was very weak too. I had an almost 2 year old at home and a newborn and I was a hot mess! Even 5 months later, I was still suffering; lack of sleep, crazy hormones, postpartum depression, and post-traumatic stress were really taking a toll on me. I got to the point where I didn't know what else I could do to help myself (yet looking back I realize now I wasn't doing ANY of the things I should've been doing to help myself physically, like #1-4) but one day, I had a thought. "I need someone to make me feel better. But I can't ask for help. Why don't I think of someone else that may be in need of some love and do that for them??" It was definitely an inspired revelation, and from that day forward, my view of service has drastically changed. I set a goal to help one person every day. I didn't know what they needed, so I just did for someone else what I needed myself. One day when I should've been cleaning my kitchen, I ran across to my neighbors house, snuck in (I had a key!) and did her dishes. I giggled the whole time, then ran home and did my own dishes. My happiness level spiked. The next day, I wrote a note to an old friend telling her how much she meant to me.

At the end of the week, I had an amazing experience that reminded me that the Lord is aware of our needs and the needs of others. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to use our experiences to bless the lives of others, and serve in a way that remind us how special and loved we truly are!!

5. Get an accountability partner!! 

This makes all the difference for me. If I am struggling to get my workouts in, I invite a friend to come over and do them with me. I'm not about to cancel on my friend, and when she shows up at my door all laced up, it's a lot harder to find an excuse to not do it. If working out with a friend isn't an option, find someone to be your accountability partner! Join our challenge group that will require you to check in daily, show progress, and provide support to help you reach your goals. I LOVE my challenge group and the girls in our private group are so uplifting, motivational and supportive! We have little mini challenges, celebrate Flex Friday, rejoice together our victories and uplift each other through our struggles. If you find yourself constantly quitting, this just might be what you're missing! I can help you get partnered up with someone who will help you push yourself harder, commit to your workouts, eat cleaner, and provide the accountability we all need to stay focused and reach your goals! Click the link below to join!
~~Together is always better!~~
Apply to join our Super Fit Challenge here!!

I would LOVE to hear from you! Do you have a health tip? 
Would you love a clean eating meal plan? Need some help & support to reach your goals? 
Leave me a comment and I'd love to help you out!!

June 10, 2015

Coconut Melon Refresher-- Delicious Hydrating Summer Drink

If you are feeling dehydrated or really want to hydrate yourself after a hard workout or being in the sun, try this delicious recipe!!!

{10 oz coconut water
1 cup honeydew
1 cup red grapes
a couple mint leaves
handful of ice}

Blend it up and enjoy the 

refreshing drink! 

Don't forget to pretend 

you are soaking up the 

rays in Hawaii!!

May 6, 2015

Could it be Dyslexia?

Tonight I asked Tyler what he did at Scouts today, and he told me that they studied the Solar System, and drew the planets. I got super excited for him because that's what we've been studying together this week. But then, sadly, he said, "but I did really bad because there was a very confusing worksheet that made no sense at all, but everyone else knew what they were doing and I needed the teacher's help, but I still have no idea how to do it."

I asked him to show me the paper, and it was a worksheet where you unscramble the letters to find the real word. I could tell he struggled with it and he felt embarrassed and overwhelmed about it. Then he showed me the Solar System drawing he did and it was beautiful.
I've been suspecting for awhile that Tyler has Dyslexia and this pretty much confirmed my suspicion. I decided to take a minute and explain to him that the right side of his brain is stronger and bigger than his left side. I reminded him that he is an amazing artist, has an incredible imagination, is super creative and gifted. Then I explained to him that his left brain, the part of the brain in charge of decoding letters and words has to work harder to do its job.
It's funny, because I've been debating whether or not to talk to him about this, as we've been doing school and I see him getting frustrated and battling something and working so much harder than he should have to just to sound out words and spell accurately. I've been praying for an answer about it, and then tonight this happened, and it was like- "here you go, here's your reason and way to talk to him!" I love how God works, I love that He will provide opportunities for us to learn and grow. I know that we are given strengths and weaknesses for a reason. I'm so thankful for Tyler, and for how hard of a worker he is. This isn't easy, but it will pay off. In these months that he and I have been homeschooling, he has taught me so much about patience, and hard work, and love. I know that the Lord is aware of our challenges, and our struggles, and He helps us along our journey 

Meal Planning Made Easy!

Just wanted to share a little testimonial about our 21 day meal plan, from one of our Super Life challenge members:
"I'm about 17 days into the 21 day fix and I definitely don't plan on stopping at 21 days. I love this program and it has changed my entire outlook on my eating habits- it's very clear why I wasn't loosing weight before!! Also, I'm down 10 pounds and even my hubby has been noticing. Here's to the next 10 pounds!! It's great that I know I will get there because now I have the tools!"
--Brittney Paterno
This meal plan really is the best! It helps with portion control and eating a balanced diet, plus no more counting calories with the easy to use color-coding system. I provide a 21 day meal plan that is fool proof and delicious, you measure the food and whatever doesn't fit in the containers, you can save for your next meal (or tomorrow!) And if you think this must be another one of those 'starvation diets,' check out the bottom picture with a full plate of food. And that's just one of SIX meals in one day! {because when you eat healthy, you can actually eat MORE}
Plus you get a 30 minute workout program that has tons of variety and will help you to lose fat, build muscle, develop better habits and keep you feeling amazing from home, AND you'll get unlimited access to our private support group of lots of other women who are all working on our goals together. If this sounds amazing, message me asap or drop your email below and I'll message you details soon!

Go HERE for a little more information about the 21 Day program!

April 26, 2015

21 day challenge

I've been blessed with a vision of what I want out of life, my purpose, and how I can bless the lives of others. I've been a health and fitness coach for over 2 years and while I love helping people reach their health & fitness goals, I want to do more, and help them be more in tune spiritually and to help them reach their financial goals as well. Basically I just want to pay it forward and share with others the things I have learned and help other women like me establish daily habits that will help us live happier, healthier lives!
What I love about coaching is that moment when someone commits to a better life. That moment when I can tell they will do whatever it takes to be a better mother, a better wife, a better friend. Because they realize, they are WORTH it!!
It's so amazing to be part of their journey, as they put in the daily effort to become a better person and we get to celebrate together their accomplishments; the milestones, the victories, the successes!!
I want to take this further and help other women like me to get MORE out of life.

Are you ready? We will embark on a 21 day journey-- we will have assigned daily reading, daily motivation, and action steps to help you be successful at achieving your goals. I will provide a reading schedule, and support along with other uplifting women who are all working on our goals together. You will receive all the tools you need to be successful, you just have to be willing to create habits and do the small steps daily that will help you create healthier habits in your family, grow closer to Christ and be able to manage your money. Being able to pay off our debt last month really helped me realize I have a responsibility to pay it forward and share what I've learned with others. If you are at a point in your life when you feel like you deserve more; to be happier, to be more in tune with your body physically, spiritually and emotionally, fill out this application so I can get to know you better and help you reach your goals and live a Super Life!

April 21, 2015

How to Celebrate National Jelly Bean Day with your favorite kid!!

April 22nd is National Jelly Belly Day! If you know me, you KNOW that I love to celebrate holidays and love to do unit studies in any fun subject, AND we love jelly beans. (especially juicy pear, if you were wondering!)

We are doing the learning packet by How to Home School my Child HERE!
This kit is awesome and includes science projects, word problems, measurements, fractions, math, and more! I'll have him finish off the day by doing a journal entry titled "If I were I jelly bean flavor I would be..."

I've also found a few other printables for taste testing, graphing, addition & subtraction (part, part, whole. Could use for doubles facts too), and probability!
So excited to take a little break from our normal routine and enjoy all things jelly tomorrow!! :)

March 26, 2015

Extreme Fix, Extreme Results!

My BEST advice for someone struggling to get their workouts in is to find a couple of friends who want to do it with you! I have about 4 friends who I always text my weekly workout schedule to because I know that I'm 100% more excited to workout when I know I won't be doing it alone. Plus if my friends are knocking on the door, I'm not going to hide in the closet and say I don't feel like working out today.
We have cleared out our garage to make a workout space and we just follow along with the Beachbody workouts together! One a good day, everyone will make it, but usually I have at least ONE person show up!

On this particular day, my friends didn't show up (waaah!) BUT I pushed through my workout alone and I'm feeling super strong! I have the kinda body type that doesn't like to put on muscle (my nickname in grade school was chicken legs, lol!) But I've upped my protein and healthy fats, sticking to this fitness program, using heavier weights and finally seeing changes. I can't even say enough how much I'm loving this Extreme Fix program! I've completed the first 21 Day Fix program and re-done it a few times because I love the variety and the trainer really inspires me. I was super excited when they came out with an Extreme version of the program!!

Autumn says, "Don't let anyone tell you that you can't change any part of your body... yes, you can, you just have to do the work but you will see results. " *You can do anything for 21 days, right?* My next round for our accountability group begins next week so message me asap if you are ready to get your own results.

Site Word Scavenger Hunt

Anytime you can turn learning into a game, DO It!
I've heard of moms having their child spell a word out loud, then do 3 jumping jacks. Then another word, then 3 jumping jacks... anything to keep them moving and laughing and having fun. Plus it distracts them a little bit that they are actually learning! 

I saw this fun idea to do a site word scavenger hunt and tried with both my 6 and 8 year old, and they both enjoyed it. Write the words  on  post it notes and on a piece of paper, hide the post its around the room and send them off with a clip board! They must match the words they find to the words on the clip board. You could do this with rhyming words, or even parts of speech, or even math facts! The possibilities are endless!

With my kindergartner, I took the site words he has learned this year, and for my 2nd grader, I took the words he misspelled on his writing paper. Anything to reinforce what we are learning each day!

March 23, 2015

Homeschooling: 7 Continents for Animal Lovers!!

I knew from day one that if I involved animals in any way in a lesson, I'd have my son's full attention! So this lesson was perfect for him!!

We started out by printing a map of the world and naming the continents using this awesome song found HERE!
After we practiced the song a few times, I gave him a blank map in a sheet protector and the word strips and he placed the words on the correct continents. Then he wrote the words using a dry erase marker.

I am using the printables from The Homeschool Den and found the maps for free, and decided to pay the $2 for the animal cards because that seemed totally worth the time it would take to copy/paste animals together. And I love supporting other Stay at Home Moms!! We went through each stack of animals by continent, and then I shuffled them and laid out our big Discovery Map (Which also includes little cloth animals and labels for the continents and oceans! I LOVE it!) He placed the animals in the continents he thought they belonged in. Then we fixed any that were incorrect and talked about the type of climates, and why they would belong in that ecosystem.

It just so happened that he had a stack of animal books from the library (I love when that happens!) So we went through and found out where each animal lives, and he wrote simple sentences like:
"A tiger lives in Asia." for each of the animals.

Such a fun unit and definitely something he would enjoy reviewing from time to time when he needs a fun activity break- I'll pass him a map and the animal cards and he'll go to work placing them in the correct continents!!

February 17, 2015

Singing Time Game- Sing or DARE!

I have only done this game with the Senior primary and it was a complete hit! I'm sure it would work for Junior too.
So here's our Sing or Dare cans (you better believe I opened up a can of kidney beans and sweet corn on Sunday morning just for this activity, hehehe! :)
Inside each can are the sticks that have how we will sing the song (any song works!) OR their dare! Pick a "reverent helper" one at a time and have them decide "sing or dare?" Then they pick a stick out of that can and read aloud!
-Play Stop & Go while you sing ____ (You pick the song/verse)
Leave out 2 keywords in the 1st verse. (I would write them on the board)
Girls face left, boys face right while you sing.
Rub your belly, pat your head as you sing.
Stand on one foot while you sing, if you drop the other foot, sit down.
"Buzz" instead of sing the word "the"

-Tell us your favorite thing about primary!
-Name 3 latter-day prophets (if they need a hint say-- who was the first prophet? Who's our prophet now? Remember the one before him?
-Give everyone in your class a high 5!
-Give your teacher a hug :)
-Stand on your chair & shout "I Love primary!"
-Give the primary president a high five.
-Tell us the names of everyone in your class
-Hop on one foot around the podium 3 x!
-Lead the music for us! (Do a quick lesson on count, or just have them lead a triangle, or back & forth or have them spell their name in cursive ;)!)

HAVE FUN with this!! If you have multiple songs you are reviewing, you can just write the titles on the board and rotate through them!

Nursery Singing Time!

Just wanted to share my nursery routine with you because it works so well! We do a variety of church & non church songs but you could easily adjust this to church only if you wanted!

1. We have stars on a stick with their name on it. You could give each of them a star sticker to add each week if you wanted!
Twinkle, twinkle little star
I am like a star
"We can all be like bright shining stares when we share toys, are kind and smile at our friends!"
2. These are little monster finger puppets. They love them!
If you chance to meet a frown... Then I have them each show me their smiles as they hand back the monster!
3. Pencils & pie tins to make drums. They practice rhythm while we sing
Book of Mormon Stories
Then they hand in their pencil and we sing the wheels on the bus with the tin being their "wheel". We JUST do people, babies, mommies, daddies.
Then I show them a picture of the temple and tell them "our whole family rode the bus to a very special place, where is it??" The we sing
I love to see the temple
4. I found these adorable animal puppets at Ikea and couldn't resist they were like $3! So if there's still time we sing Old McDonald had a farm but "The prophet Noah had an arc" then you sing "and on his arc he had 2 turtles..." 

And who created all these beautiful animals? Jesus & Heavenly Father!

If there's extra time or they are particularly wiggly, we will do
Once there was a snowman, do as I'm doing or another fun easy song to go with the season or lesson. Then we close with the Prayer Song and say the closing prayer. Hope this helps!!

February 6, 2015

Valentine's Day Primary Singing Time

Just thought of a fun and super easy activity for Singing Time this week!! I have a heart puzzle and will hide each piece around the room (for Jr. primary I will have the shapes outlined on the board so they know exactly where to place the piece once they find it) they will read the statement and then pianist will play the first few notes for them to guess what song it is. 
Then we will sing. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy... and fun ;)

Here are the songs I'm doing, but it would be easy to adjust accordingly:

-We can show our love for Jesus by following His example (78)
I’m trying to be like Jesus

 -We know our Savior loves children (IKTMSLM)
I know that my Savior loves me

 -We can show our love for Heavenly Father by choosing the right (160)
Choose the Right Way

-We know God loves us because He Sent His Son (34)
He Sent His Son

-Someone else loves us that will never allow us to “go astray” (110)
Follow the Prophet

-I love you!

Pick your favorite song :)

February 3, 2015

Stuffed Bell Peppers!

These are one of my favorite meals! I am a pretty picky eater so I was nervous at first, but it is truly one of the yummiest things I've ever eaten! Here's how to make them!

Recipe makes 4 portions!
247 Calories, 7 g fat, 35 g carbs, 8 g fiber.

2 large red bell peppers
sea salt (to taste)
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup water
8 oz. organic tempeh, crumbled
7.5 oz (1.2 can) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp. raw pine nuts
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 Tbsp. Freshly chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped basil
1 Tbsp. raisins (I prefer golden!)

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Halve peppers lengthwise, leaving stems intact. Scoop out seeds & place cut side up in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until they're soft, but still retain their shape
3.Put 1 cup of water on to boil in kettle or small pan.
4. While peppers are baking and water is boiling, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and saute onion & garlic until soft.
5. Add tempeh, tomatoes, and pine nuts to skillet and saute about 5-7 minutes.
6. Stir in rice, parsley, basil, and raisins. Remove from heat & season with a bit more salt & pepper.
7. Spoon mixture into peppers in the baking pan. Pour just enough boiling water around peppers to touch the base of each so they won't burn in the oven.
8. Bake for 15 minutes & ENJOY!!

January 31, 2015

He Sent His Son- Review & Game

We have already learned He Sent His Son and have been singing it for opening exercises a few times, but I am excited to review it, go over a few things and play a fun game with the Questions & Answers that go along with this song!

Would you want to go into the jungle with hungry tigers and darkness and deadly diseases without having a plan? Would you send a friend or family member into this jungle without giving them something to help them?
So it is with Heavenly Father. He sent us to earth to learn and grow and be tested to see if we would choose the right. But He knew life on Earth would get dangerous and hard at times. So He sent His son, Jesus Christ to help us, to show us the path and to guide us home.

Here is our "knowledge backpack!" inside we have things to visualize parts of the song. The knowledge we have about the Savior will help us always!!
"What's the first question?" See if kids can recite first line. Put up flipchart pics as we review the questions and see items to help us remember words.

Question: How could the Father Tell the world of love and tenderness?
DOLL: He Sent His Son a newborn babe, with peace & holiness.
Question: How could the Father show the world the pathway we should go?
SHOES: He Sent his Son to walk with men, on earth that we may know.
Question: How could the Father tell the world of sacrifice, of death?
NAIL in EASTER Egg: He Sent His Son to die for us, and rise with Living Breath!
Question: What does the Father Ask of us/What do the scriptures say?
SCRIPTURES: marked with Alma 7:24
Have big kid come read scripture, picture of Jesus as bookmark- show primary
Have Faith, have hope, live like His Son, help others on your way
Question: What does He ask?
Live Like His Son- nice picture of Jesus

Have 5 reverent helpers pull out the 5 items and hold them while we sing the song through 1x

Then play the Q/A game!!!
Left side of room sing questions, Right side sing Answers
Vanilla ice cream/Chocolate Ice cream
Other fun ways to sing Q/A HERE!

I must explain that our Senior primary is tiny! One week we had 3 kids and 4 visitors. Our visitors over doubled our primary!! If everyone is there, we have 9 kids. So we used to combine Jr/Sr but now that we are separate I'm excited to do more with the scriptures, ask them deeper questions and play more trivia type games!

Instead of doing the backpack full of items, we will dive deeper into the scriptures. So we will sing all the way through one time and have them count how many questions we sang (6)
Then I will have them put the questions and corresponding pictures in order. I'll probably give everyone a piece of paper from my flipchart to put it where it goes. Questions are written up/ Answers are GAK pictures.

When they have the first 3 questions and answers in order, I will ask if they know the next 2 Questions
What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?

Let's open the scriptures and find out. I'll have 3 envelopes hidden somewhere in the room (play golden note to find each one)
Scripture #1- Alma 7:24 What does the Father ask of us?
Faith, hope, charity, always abound in good works.

What does Charity mean? If they don't know, find scripture #2- Moroni 7:47
Pure Love of Christ- "Live Like His Son" (Replace word strip)

Scripture #3- Luke 10:25-37 and tell story of Good Samaritan. "Help others on their way"

Add pictures

Last Question: What does He ask? Repeat answer: Live Like His Son

Play same Q/A game as above- but have them move seats to different sides of the room as we change who sings which part :)

We also love to use the Dynamics Sticks to sing He Sent His Son!

1st Q/A quietly (mouse)
2nd Q/A stronger (singing note)
3rd Q/A loudly (lion)
4th & 5th Q/A faster (bunny)
Combined answer slow down (snail)
Last Q/A stronger (singing note)